Liberal Senator Zed Seselja topped the Senate ballot paper in a 17-candidate field for the ACT when the Australian Electoral Commission conducted its draw after the close of nominations.
The coveted No 1 spot on the ballot traditionally gives the holder an advantage over opponents, garnering the donkey vote on polling day.
But most, including Senator Seselja, have played down the value of the ballot position in an electorate as astute and well studied as the ACT, which has a relatively small ballot paper compared with states such as NSW.
Behind Senator Seselja and his running mate Robert Gunning are the Greens’ Penny Kyburz, who is pushing strongly to unseat the Liberal, and Emma Davidson.
Then follows Independents Anthony Pesec, arguably a ‘small l’ and ‘green’ liberal alternative who is also targeting Senator Seselja, and former Canberra Liberals president Gary Kent.
Labor’s Katy Gallagher, hoping to return to the Senator after falling foul of Section 44 of the Constitution and dual citizenship, is 13th on the ballot paper, with her running partner Nancy Waites.
There are four conservative candidates vying for the disaffected voter, with Fraser Anning’s Conservative national party’s Shane van Duren and Scott Birkett at seven and eight, followed by Peter Walter and Rebecah Hodgson for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.
Sustainable Australia, whose platform argues that the nation cannot support higher immigration and population, is running two candidates – John Haydon (11) and Joy Angel (12).
There are two more Independents at 15 and 16 – Nick Houston and Gary Cowton, while Kim David pulls up the rear for the Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group).
In the contests for the House of Representatives, the battle for Bean in the south has attracted the biggest field with eight candidates, the central seat of Canberra six, and Fenner in the north five.
In Bean, the Labor favourite, former senator David Smith is seventh on the ballot, and his main rival, Liberal Ed Cocks, is sixth.
In the redistributed seat of Canberra, previously held by Labor’s Gai Brodtmann, it looks like a three-way contest between Labor’s Alicia Payne (2), the Greens’ Tim Hollo (3) and Liberal Mina Zaki (4). Perennial Independent Tim Bohm tops the ballot.
In the north, sitting member Andrew Leigh (Labor) has drawn four and looks untroubled to hold the seat.
Independents, the UAP and the Australian progressives are also represented across the three ACT seats.